This week, 17 European countries stopped AstraZeneca’s (AZ) vaccine rollout while waiting for the European Medical Agency (EMA) review by Thursday. Meanwhile, Pfizer warned the EU to back down from blocking vaccine trade with the UK since its main ingredients are shipped from Yorkshire. The WHO and EMA concluded “no increase in the overall risk of blood clots”. It would appear, then, that European states were colluding to supersede the primum non necere principle and replacing it with their own adulterated precautionary principle to deflect from their own failings in vaccine rollouts.
Delays cost lives, significantly more than a few blood clots from overactive immune responses. We cannot remove the risk entirely, we are fragile living, breathing organisms by nature; not some machine whose parts can be oiled and replaced.
Each year, 1 in 1000 people will get a clot. Of the 25 million Europeans who had the AZ jab, 25,000 would have been expected to get a blood clot anyway. The EMA had reviewed only 7 cases of blood clots in multiple blood vessels and 18 cases of CVST.
The Italian National Medical Agency (AIFA) said: “The decision to stop #AstraZeneca #covid19vaccine is political.”
This should make us question when independent medical bodies started following political orders. Italy has 166 people die of blood clots daily, why all the fuss for AZ? Mario Draghi called Angela Merkel before stopping the AZ vaccine. Every day, 400-500 people die because of covid-19 complications. Meanwhile, 80 shops, restaurants and services close forever. Who pays these costs?
The EMA representative at the European Parliament said the AZ vaccine posed no risks. This is the same stance as the WHO and UK medical agency.
The reporting abroad also conveniently overlooks the millions of UK citizens vaccinated without any notable risks to public health.
Inevitably, there will be some who have bad contraindications to a vaccine.
The EU has lost a lot of credibility over its vaccine program failures and is trying to deflect attention to save face by spreading fake news that the UK vaccine is somehow more harmful to human life. It smacks of desperation and paranoia. It gives them plausible deniability for their own vaccine rollout failures. First, they lied about efficacy in over 65’s, U-turning after the WHO said they were wrong. They then accused AZ of giving preferential treatment to the UK and not fulfilling their contract. Now France is refusing to administer AZ to under-55s, despite “the WHO said there is no evidence the incidents are caused by the vaccine” and “among those reporting blood clots in Italy were those on heart medication of which clotting is a potential side-effect.”
Oxford’s Sir John Bell warned that changing advice undermined confidence in all vaccination programmes, stating “they are sitting on a massive stockpile of vaccines that they haven’t deployed yet while a wave of new variants is spreading. You couldn’t make it up.”
Boris is clearing winning the Covid political war, with 89% domestic approval ratings for our vaccine programmes. If successful politics is about messaging and news management, or we have been lucky our adversaries are making unforced errors in the final set; seeing EU countries discredit AZ, not use the doses and threatening a block on vaccine exports to the UK and confiscation of manufacturing facilities in a demand for more of the very vaccine they tried to devalue; such bizarre contradictions put us squarely in a better negotiating position.
The UK didn’t have the supply issues, nor the “best efforts” clause. We just ordered our vaccines long before Europe, approved them earlier and had the same challenges last year. The UK actually benefitting from Brexit when it came to vaccines is too much affrontery for the EU to bear. This probably leaves Brexiteers wondering whether they should be amused at European nations not following the EMA’s guidance to continue with AZ or supporting each individual member state’s autonomy to decide what is in each of their best interests – as we did with voting to leave.
But as that telephone call between Europhiles Merkel and Draghi showed, European leaders are more proxy puppets for the European Project than representing their own countries. They should have learned from the March 2020 PPE hoarding by some member states to deprive others that their project falls short in times of crisis. This is war, but we seem to be confused who the enemy is.